Maxwell has be nvolved with some of the greatest moments in Celtics history.
Photo: Dick Raphael/NBAE/Getty Images
It's only between us and it's for today, December 15, 2003, and it's one day only.
If I ever see these words spit back at me, I'll deny them and claim I was misquoted so be forewarned. Today you get the truth and tomorrow we go back to “Grande and Max” never to speak of it again. Here goes.
Cedric Maxwell is not only the reason I came back to Boston. He's one of my best friends in the world. Whew. That took a lot out of me. But now that the cat is out of the bag, let me tell you why I'm sharing this with you (and only you…and only today).
It was a great honor to be offered the position of “Voice of the Celtics” in 2001. In my business in general, and in my particular avocation of play-by-play, there are few if any titles that can match its impact. It's an extraordinary honor.
But I admit I turned it down. Twice. I was very happy living in Minneapolis and calling the telecasts for the Timberwolves. But one phone call changed my mind. The call in which Cedric Maxwell asked me to be his partner. The one in which he said together, we could give the Celtics the best broadcast in the NBA. That's what changed my mind.
So when I was asked to chip in my two cents on Cedric Maxwell day, I thought I might give you a different perspective on his impact in Boston. Before this day's over you'll have heard from countless Celtics legends on Max's basketball impact here from 1977 to 1985. About the '81 Finals MVP, Game 7 in 1984 and all the boys getting on his back. You'll have heard about how he tailored his game to suit the changing roster. How he did all the little things, the intangibles on and off the court. And how he wrote the book on sacrificing individual glory for the greater championship good of the team long before Karl Malone and Gary Payton were practically sainted this summer for doing the same.
But I'd like to talk about a different eight years of impact he's had. From 1995-2003. His impact as one of the voices of the franchise. I'm not equating the two, believe me. I'm not suggesting the Quack-o-Meter or his colorful catch phrases mean more to the franchise than the 8311 points or the record 61% he shot in 1980. But they matter. And his reach now extends to a new generation of Celtics fans that have grown to connect him to the team. The same way just as many people know Tommy Heinsohn as the guy who loves Walter, than as the guy who always loved to shoot.
And think about this. Today, the franchise honors a man who's now broadcast more games for the Celtics than he played. A man who joins the very select few connected to multiple eras in team history. He played with Bird and McHale. He broadcast for Pierce and Walker. He was there when the Celtics came from 3-1 down to stun the Sixers in the '81 Eastern Conference Finals. He was there when the Celtics came from 21 down to stun the Nets in Game Three of the '02 Eastern Conference Finals.
And the best part is that now, he gets to be the star.
On the court, he was the guy who sacrificed to make others into stars. On the air, it's my job to make sure people know he's the star. And I'm proud to do it. Because he is.
Although at the stroke of Midnight, these words will all self-destruct, never to be spoken of again.